Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Boogervampire: Regarding Custom Orders

Hey Blog Buddies!  So I was required to grow a pair and make an announcement on all my social media platforms today.  As the Screen Cap states, I will no longer be doing customs.  After a year of flakey clients, and realizing how little time I have when I get home from work, I realized I'd much rather spend that time expressing my ideas rather than making someone else's "vision" become a reality.  That's what I spend my entire day doing.  I'm not whining about it.  I love my day job and what I do.  I wouldn't change it for the world.

I've chosen to explain here on the blog exactly how much work goes into some of the things I make, not to mention how much money, and in the end it will hopefully explain why I price some of my items the way I do AND why I get so angry/hurt/frustrated when people flake out of their promises to buy stuff.

If you follow me on Instagram I'm sure you've seen some of my "Work in Progress" posts.  (I even do them here from time to time.)  All of my paintings start with a thumbnail of my idea.  The idea can take anywhere from an hour to a month to figure out before I put pencil to paper.  After finding a thumb nail I'm happy with I do a blown up, final sketch which can take anywhere from an hour to 24+ hours to complete depending on the level of detail.  I then do color comps on my computer to try to figure out what colors will express the desired mood as well as making the characters pop off the page.  This step takes quite a while because I also try to push myself to try new color schemes and learn better color theory stuff.  This can also take anywhere from an hour to 12 hours to complete.  Once that's done then the painting starts.  Up until this point I usually don't spend very much money on supplies as I've already paid for my computer and photoshop and I have a surplus of left over animation paper from college and my sketch books, BUT when the painting starts I usually use Arches paper, which is not cheap, and occasionally have to replace brushes because of all the tiny details I do, not to mention if I run out of one of my primary colors (I actually mix my own paints instead of using strait out of the tube colors) and I wind up having to buy a new tube of gouache in order to finish the painting, then the money can start to add up quickly.  (Pad of watercolor paper $25-45 which works out to be $2.50-$4.50 per sheet of paper; brushes $6-$18, gouache $8-12 a tube.  Just incase you wanted to see the monetary break down.)  The physical process of painting (for the big ones) can take between 36 and 48 CONSECUTIVE hours to complete, sometimes more.  That's one full work week spread out over God knows how long.  Once finished I mat and frame my own paintings, but frames usually cost me about $30 and mat board costs me about $10 once you do the math and figure out how many paintings I can usually frame with one or two sheets of board.  On average I usually ask for about $300 for a super detailed 8x10 painting.  Believe me, I'd love to ask for more because I know that my time and work is worth it, but  most of the time I follow this rule of thumb.  I like to try to ask for enough to cover the cost of the painting's supplies plus give myself an hourly wage.  I know the audience that my work appeals to so I TRY to keep it somewhat affordable to them.  After deducting the money spent on supplies from the asking price and dividing that by the amount of time I spend working on the piece, do do you know what my 'hourly wage' works out to?  $3.50/hour.  Most of the time the paintings don't sell for $300 because I'm too nice or someone haggles with me to the point I get tired of them so I mark it down.  When that happens I usually wind up only making $2.50 an hour and that's IF the painting sells at all. So, non-artistic people, would you work for $2.50 an hour?  This is the reason why they call people 'starving artists' and also one of the many reasons I'm so grateful for my day job.

All the work I put into what I make, in addition to the love and care I put into it is why it's so crushing to have someone flake on a custom order.  I'm not 'internet famous' or 'real life' famous and I'm cool with that.  I have my own style and I paint things that aren't popular/trendy.  I don't do fan art and when I'm required to for a show I try really, REALLY hard to make it look different and avoid popular themes.  Does that mean my stuff is original?  Hell no.  I know that.  Which is why when someone enjoys it and asks for me to make special things for them I get soooo excited!!  I make those things with EXTRA love.

To wrap this up, if you've made it to the end:  NO CUSTOM ORDERS.  No custom paintings, no custom jewelry, no custom orders that require me spending money to have made over seas.  Maybe someday I'll change my mind, but for now. . . call me Grumpy Cat.  NO!!!

I hope to post art next week.  Give you all some teasers of what will be available at the Spook Show in a week and to show you the progress of my Sushi Monster painting.  I also hope that this came across as educational and enlightening as opposed to the typical "just another artist whining about how no one appreciates what we do" post.

1 comment:

Creepy Glowbugg said...

I have been an admirer of your talents for a while now. I am also a "starving artist" of sorts, and have run into the same kind of inconsiderate customers who leave you hanging after you have already put time and effort into their project. People suck sometimes. I don't blame you one bit, and I think the money break down is helpful for people who just think you pick up a #2 pencil and some 20# bond, and just draw.